Toro, Bloomington, Minnesota, has announced this year’s winner of its annual Super Bowl Sports Turfgrass Training Program. Conlan Burbrink, a student at the University of Tennessee majoring in Turfgrass Science and Management, was selected to assist the grounds crew in field preparations for Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
In 2003, Toro and the NFL established the program which recognizes one student each year who has shown exemplary leadership in turfgrass management.
Burbrink will work alongside NFL field directors Ed Mangan, George Toma and the Super Bowl grounds crew at Hard Rock Stadium on turfgrass maintenance, logo painting, field preparation for media day, halftime preparation and field cleanup.
Burbrink will graduate from the University of Tennessee in the spring of 2020. After his undergraduate studies, Burbrink plans to pursue his master’s and Ph.D. degrees to further explore how soil characteristics impact the lower extremities of football players and ball interactions in various other sports.
“I believe there is a need to more accurately understand how a field contributes to the fatigue an athlete undergoes, especially in football,” says Burbrink. “This will help provide information for all athletes and help educate coaches, administrators and others on why field maintenance is crucial for the health of players at all levels. The overall goal is to provide the athletes with the best surfaces possible, and to mitigate most of the injuries related to the playing surface, while increasing overall safety and enjoyment of the sport.”
Apart from his focused studies in turfgrass science and management, Burbrink is also involved at his university and has held several internships, including at the Oval in England, Orlando City Soccer Club and the Cincinnati Red’s Urban Youth Academy. He currently works as a student assistant for softball and soccer at the University of Tennessee. Burbrink also works at the university’s Center for Athletic Safety to research lower extremity injuries.
“We know that Conlan is going to have a fantastic experience learning alongside some of the biggest names in the industry working to prepare the field for the big game,” says Boyd Montgomery, CSE, CSFM, regional business manager for sports fields and grounds, North America at Toro. “Conlan has shown a profound dedication to his studies in turfgrass science and has taken his interest to the next level by pursuing several internships, and we hope this experience helps him set a foundation for a fulfilling career ahead.”
The game will take place on Feb. 2, 2020, and Burbrink will be on-site helping to prepare the field during the week leading up to the Super Bowl.